I have posted a few times (here, here and here) about the so-called “healthy eaters” of our generation – the ones who fad-diet and going on juice cleanses to starve themselves for a week and rid themselves of toxins before heading straight for McDonald’s. The ones who think a week of hardcore dieting, living off lip gloss and fresh air will even out months of eating no fruits and vegetables and packing down the crisps. I can’t stand crash dieters who do this . People like them give people like us (the healthy ones who make lifestyle changes to remain in good shape and at full strength) a bad name.
Every now and then, a few tweets will pop up on my Twitter feed, or I’ll spot Facebook statuses announcing to the world that someone is dieting, trying to lose a few pounds and is struggling. They might say something about how eating healthy is boring or how they are eating healthy but not losing any weight. First of all, take a good look at the pictures in this post – all of healthy meals and drinks that have been freshly prepared with the best ingredients and are full of flavour. Tell me that food, like the plate of salmon and salad at the top, are boring – that this riot of colour is less appealing than a squashed, greasy McDonald’s burger. Or the black linguine with king prawns and garlic below – is this just too full of flavour for you?Dieters need to realise that if they have been living off a diet of crap, then that is what their body has become used to, that your body now craves high levels of sugar and fat. Yes the first few weeks will always be a struggle because you are essentially trying to change a lifetime of bad habits, and you will be craving the diet your body is used to. But after this period, you body will start to crave the right foods and the longer you stick with this course, the more you will start to enjoy the foods. Your taste-buds in turn will start to relish in the diverse flavours, something they had been numbed to with a previously high sugar and fat diet. Now they will wake up and smell the bacon, or so to speak.
It is important to realise that this is not an immediate process and will not happen in the first week, but a few weeks down the line, you will start to notice big changes. It just means sticking with your health kick for long enough so that it becomes a lifestyle change. Another problem that is often voiced, is the failure to lose weight despite switching to healthier foods – well first of all, make sure that the foods you think are healthy are in fact, because if you have gone for “diet” foods and ranges, often these contain a lot of hidden sugars which turn to fat, and salt. These can cause even more health problems in the long run when actually it is very simple – lots of fruits and vegetables, less carbohydrates and stick to brown rices/breads/pasta, and go for protein-heavier meals with plenty of fish and less red meat. Cooking things yourself means cutting out the middle man, who often adds a lot of salt and preservatives that you do not want to be eating, plus cooking yourself makes you more aware of what is going in your own food.Finally, something else that those looking at changing their diet need to realise is the importance of portion sizes – if you are eating healthy but are still bigger than you feel you should be, portion sizes could be the problem. Some of us go on a health kick and while starting to eat better foods, we start to eat massive portions to fill ourselves up, in turn stretching our stomachs to make us hungrier than we should be. It is important to realise that in Western countries we are probably already eating far more than we really need, and spending a fortune on food while 1.2 billion people around the world are living on the equivalent of £1 per day – read more about this and living below the poverty line on Sarah Hardman Travels.
It is important to remember that the size of each food group on your plate will need reshuffling, but also the size of your plate – if you are a pile it high kind of person, you might not be giving your stomach a chance to say it is full before shovelling a load more down. Again, much like the changing of foods, it will take a few weeks to adjust if you are usually someone who eats massive platefuls with big snacks in-between – but once you have adjusted, you will wonder how you even found time to eat so much food. I’m not saying never have a treat, or a cheeky McDonalds – I’m just saying that the healthy lifestyle should be the norm, and the treats should remain just that. Particularly if you are intent on losing weight or being healthier.
Give it a try and let me know how you get on – you might be surprised the effect eating a little less overall and some more of the right things can have on your body.